Editor, The News:
Re: Wolf kill last hope for caribou (B.C. Views, Jan. 28).
There are a number of at-risk mountain caribou in B.C., such as the Itcha-Ilgachus herd in the Chilcotin, caribou in and around Wells Grey Park, some caribou herds in the Peace River District and the South Selkirk herd, bordering B.C. and Idaho.
Wolf removal among the South Selkirk herd may be a necessary last-ditch effort, but it did not have to be this way.
The current B.C. Government, and perhaps governments before them, have made many decisions that have put our caribou at risk. Persistent logging in caribou winter range has been particularly damaging to caribou.
The B.C. government has also damaged caribou herds by allowing heavy snowmobile use, even in caribou winter range, where it was recommended by the government’s own science team that snowmobiles be prohibited.
The chief of the Moberly Band in Chetwynd, B.C., told me several years ago that his people are barely able to hunt much of their traditional territory due to the massive proliferation of oil and gas development in the region.
And that was before fracking really got going.
Humans do the damage.
Wolves get the blame.
Tom Fletcher mentions the 1980s B.C. wolf kill program, inferring that a lot of caribou might have been saved if the wolf kill had not been stopped. I spent some time in the 1970s working out of the fish and wildlife office in Fort St. John. Caribou were not at risk in the Muskwa-Kechika area, where the wolf kill was taking place. The stated purpose by the fish and wildlife branch for the wolf kill was to increase opportunities for hunting.
Wolves have co-existed with caribou for millennia. They are not the problem; they are the scapegoats.
The real problem is our unwillingness to manage human activities appropriately.